Night Nine Premier League Preview – Berlin
On Thursday, the 2023 Cazoo Premier League roadshow arrives in Berlin, where Gerwyn Price will try to keep up his impressive form by winning three games in a row.
With victories in Nottingham and Newcastle, Price has cut Michael van Gerwen’s lead in the standings to seven points. On Tyneside, Price defeated the Dutchman with a stunning performance.
The Welshman won the European Darts Open on Sunday after posting a 114.96 average in last week’s final, the highest in the Premier League since 2017.
The 38-year-old beat Michael Smith and Van Gerwen of the Premier League and won his first ranking title of 2023 in Leverkusen with averages of 109, 110, and 106 along the way to victory.
Prior to Night Nine, Price currently has an eight-point advantage over Chris Dobey, who is currently in fifth place. The 2021 World Champion is aiming for Play-Off qualification for the first time in five appearances.
“Winning breeds confidence and I’m really looking forward to Berlin this week,” said Price, who will play Peter Wright in his quarter-final tie at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
“I’ve had a tough time in the Premier League over the last few years, but this year it’s been great and long may it continue. The crowd are supporting me, I’m winning and I’m enjoying it a lot more.
“I have finished fifth twice and never made the Play-Offs, so whether I finish top of the table I don’t mind, I just want to make the top four and give myself a chance of lifting that trophy.
“I’ve not qualified yet, so I’m on my game, I’m focused every single week and I want to keep picking up points.”
Wright, on the other hand, is mired at the bottom of the standings with just two points despite the fact that his lone victory this season came against Price on Night Six in Liverpool.
Price or Wright will face the victor of Thursday’s third quarterfinal between defending champion Van Gerwen and table-topper Jonny Clayton in the final four.
In 2023, Van Gerwen has participated in five of the eight nightly finals, defeating 2021 champion Clayton three times in a row.
The Dutch superstar is attempting to win the league for a record-breaking ninth time in his Premier League career, while Clayton is looking to turn things around after three straight losses.
In another match, Chris Dobey will face Nathan Aspinall, who moved up to third after his thrilling victory over Dimitri Van den Bergh last week in the quarterfinals. Dobey is coming off of a memorable homecoming in Newcastle.
Aspinall, who is in his third Premier League season, has triumphed in six of his first eight quarterfinal matches. The Stockport star is enjoying his first trip to Berlin.
“It’s amazing. This is what dreams are made of,” admitted Aspinall, who also finished third in the league phase back in 2020 and 2021.
“The crowds are massive. Newcastle last week was electric. We’ve had a few that have been absolutely spine-tingling and Berlin is one that I’ve really looked forward to.
“I’ve been out and had a look at the arena. Wow – it’s huge! I sometimes think: ‘Little old Nathan from Stockport, how am I here?’
“I’m really looking forward to playing Chris. I had a great game against him in Liverpool last time out. I’m sure it will be another fantastic game tomorrow night and hopefully I come out on top.
“I’m third at the moment without playing at my best, but I’ve had some time to recharge my batteries, so now I’m looking forward to a big end to the season.”
In contrast, Van den Bergh and World Champion Smith will square off in the evening’s opening matchup in a rematch of Glasgow’s Night Three final.
Smith has dropped to fourth after two consecutive quarterfinal losses to Dobey, but a third straight victory over Van den Bergh will keep him there.
Following last week’s loss to Aspinall, the Belgian is three points behind Smith in sixth place despite having the third-highest tournament average through the first eight weeks.
2023 Cazoo Premier League
Night Nine – Thursday March 30
Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
Dimitri Van den Bergh v Michael Smith
Nathan Aspinall v Chris Dobey
Jonny Clayton v Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright v Gerwyn Price
Van den Bergh/Smith v Aspinall/Dobey
Clayton/Van Gerwen v Wright/Price